Writing your own comic book will exercise your creativity and imagination as both a writer and visual artist. While comic books might seem like a unique beast to build, they include many of the same fundamentals of any great fiction novel, short story, or screenplay.
Creating a comic book involves lucid worldbuilding, captivating plot and character development, and steady waves of disaster and triumph. In short order, comic book writing is an art form that not only creates stories but also actualizes them through a multifaceted creative toolkit—and further develops the stories through multi-media or a combination of the written word and illustrations.
What makes a good comic book?
Some say it’s the art. Others insist it’s the storyline. Regardless, a comic book relies on visually-stimulating storytelling through an interplay of text and illustrations in sequential panels. As with traditional books, comic books are broken down into various formats and genres, including alternative/esoteric, science fiction, superhero, fantasy, horror, slice-of-life, and comedy.
Comic books provide a platform for limitless creativity and otherworldly ideas. In addition to creative storytelling, great comic books build strong plots backed by an original visual style and well-developed characters. An engaging comic also contains a visceral flow that brings the story to life.
Like all epic storytelling, exceptional comic books balance elements of conflict and tension along with relief and resolution. The best ideas for comic books produce stand-alone issues that also fit into a larger series or narrative and withstand the test of time.
How to come up with ideas
As an aspiring comic book writer, there are several ways you can improve your ability to come up with ideas for your own writing. For starters, read more and read widely. Consume a variety of genres and eras to expose yourself to different storytelling techniques and ideas.
In addition to learning the basics of storytelling and how to structure a narrative, invest time developing your characters, empathizing with their emotions and motives, and creating exciting conflicts for them to overcome.
You might come up with comic book ideas in your day-to-day life, so it can help to carry a notebook or sketchbook to jot down ideas here and there. Your feelings, experiences, and interests will almost always give birth to your best ideas, so stay tuned to what stops you in your tracks or sparks your imagination.
Inspirational examples of comic book writers
As part of reading widely to create your comic book ideas and writing style, take inspiration from some of these iconic comic writers in notable genres.
- The 75-issue series Sandman by legendary storyteller Neil Gaiman is a comic literature phenomenon that combines horror, fantasy, and mythology. Sandman is considered a comic industry landmark that inspired the graphic novel genre.
- Written by American comic writer-artist Frank Miller, Sin City takes place in fictional Basin City, known as Sin City, to its inhabitants. The comic book follows the seedy Sin City residents, and the stories are told in a film noir-like style.
- Co-authored by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, X-Men is a quintessential American superhero series published by Marvel Comics. The X-Men team consists of a rotating group of mutants born with superhuman abilities that are used to doing justice and good in the world.
- Alan Moore’s Watchmen is an unconventional superhero comic series that taps into themes of power, justice, morality, and identity. The story investigates a mysterious murder and uses non-linear storytelling, making for a gripping read.
- The graphic novel Maus shares a unique narrative of the Holocaust through animal characters. Written by Art Spiegelman, Maus is a Pulitzer Prize-winning example of how comic books can be vehicles for literary expression and symbolism.
- The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman is a fan-favorite horror series that tracks a diverse group of post-apocalyptic survivors navigating a world overtaken by zombies.
44 comic book ideas to kick-start your imagination
Need some inspiration or thought-starters for your comic book? Explore this extensive list of comic book ideas and storylines broken down by genre.
Fantasy and science fiction ideas
1. In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by robots, small habitats of humans scheme together to reclaim their world and dismantle the robotic empire that’s evolved.
2. A few friends discover a portal to a parallel fantasy world. When they return, they share incredible accounts of a blissful utopia that soon becomes the center of obsession and secrecy.
3. In a futuristic world of space exploration, a planet’s military is recruited to fend off an alien invasion threatening a neighboring solar system.
4. As AI develops self-awareness and starts questioning its existence and purpose, it secretly hacks and takes over confidential computer systems and networks, including control over governments’ nuclear missiles.
5. A group of time travelers from multiple historical points comes together to prevent a mysterious force from unraveling the fabric of time and all forms of civilization.
6. In a post-cataclysmic world where traces of humanity survive the harsh environmental conditions, Mad Max-like gangs and crime run rampant, and conflict is ever present.
7. As climate change eventually makes most of Earth uninhabitable, the human race builds small colonies that face persisting struggles and conflicts to survive.
8. A group of high school students discovers that they’re reincarnated warriors of ancient civilizations who band together to save the world from peril against an ancient evil.
9. A young wizard inherits special powers that are later relied upon in combating an evil onslaught of black magic and fierce creatures who infiltrate the peaceful world.
10. A haunted asylum where the patients were once subjected to horrific experiments reopens, and the ghosts of those patients haunt the new staff.
11. A group of college friends moves into a home together for their senior year but soon discovers that it’s haunted by the vengeful spirits of the home’s previous occupants.
12. Zombies from an experiment gone wrong overrun a small town, forcing a dwindling community of survivors to unite and fight for survival while uncovering the outbreak’s source.
13. A series of child disappearances peril a small town, and it’s eventually discovered that the cause is a shapeshifting metamorphic figure with demonic features.
14. An archaeologist comes across an ancient tomb, unleashing a powerful mummy curse that brings to life the dead mummies buried in the entire labyrinth.
15. While on a camping trip, several friends in the woods stumble upon an ancient witchcraft evil that preys on its victims’ fears and secrets.
16. A local detective must solve a series of ritualistic murders that appear to be connected to a secret group notorious for practicing dark magic.
17. A small community is plagued by bizarre and gruesome murders that point to an old mansion with a history of tension and paranormal activity.
18. While out on a hike, a group of friends witnesses a murder that quickly escalates into an intense thriller of panic, terror, and escape to survive.
Alternative and esoteric ideas
19. A teenager with acute telepathic capabilities delves deeply into the world of the psyche, bringing to the surface repressed memories and hidden desires of those around them.
20. A group of LGBTQ+ students bands together to counteract the discrimination and prejudice they face in their local community.
21. A woman discovers her powerful abilities to channel spiritual healing energy and uses her newfound powers to cure illnesses. However, her healing abilities soon attract the interest of big pharma’s dark side.
22. A graphic novel series exploring the struggles and setbacks of people living in poverty and surviving amid highly hostile conditions.
23. Students of philosophy and alchemy develop the ability to manipulate matter and energy through their understanding of an ancient occult tradition.
24. A reclusive scientist uncovers a way to see his consciousness expanded into the astral plane, where he encounters supernatural beings and alternate dimensions of reality beyond his wildest imagination.
25. Native tribes unravel a direct connection to their ancient ancestral lineage by exploring a series of mystical experiences and unveiling visions.
26. A cosmic being that controls the flow of time must transcend past and future versions of itself to prevent a catastrophic paradox.
27. A young woman who can access and manipulate people’s dreams while they’re asleep inadvertently creates her nightmare reality.
Slice of life
28. A coming-of-age comic book idea about a teenager who navigates the emotional rollercoaster of high school, including relationships, family, friendships, and finding their place in the world.
29. As their children leave home for college, a couple in their late fifties embrace a new lifestyle as “empty nesters” that involves travel, adventure, and a newfound enthusiasm for life.
30. A heartfelt story that taps into the simple pleasures and hardships of family life on a rural farm, including the dynamics between parents and children, environmental challenges, and making an honest living.
31. A man in his mid-30s, unhappy pushing paper in an office, takes the plunge toward a radical career shift that involves relocating to a foreign country.
32. A lonesome watercolorist makes an artistic breakthrough that involves both triumph and struggle as they try to succeed in the niche world of painting.
33. Just after graduating high school, a shy student embraces college life’s social stresses and challenges, like making new friends, taking challenging courses, and figuring out their future career path.
34. A story that explores the lives of an elderly group of friends who attempt to get the most out of life during their later years by planning a radical bucket list of obscure activities.
35. A comic series that chronicles the lives of a few neighbors in a small town who navigate relationship dynamics, emotional struggles, and tension of living in a tight-knit community.
36. A slice-of-life comic about a group of coworkers who face unique challenges in navigating the modern corporate workplace, from dealing with office politics and drama to balancing personal and work-life woes.
37. A comedy series about a lowlife slacker who is content coasting through life but unexpectedly encounters myriad strange and hilarious events that slowly transform their outlook.
38. A small group of friends orchestrates some of the most elaborate pranks on their school’s faculty, leading to unexpected consequences and hilarious mischief.
39. After his wife’s passing, a man explores a new yet awkward social life of weird first dates, unfamiliar activities, and questionably-successful attempts at trying new things.
40. A workplace comedy about the daily antics, hijinks, and escapades of a few unique employee personalities working for a company in an unusual industry.
41. A parody that makes fun of popular TV shows, movies, or comic books, adding a hilarious twist to the conventions and cliches of their inherent genres.
42. Improv comics at a local theater are granted an opportunity to create a new platform to share new material and out-of-the-box comedy to revive dying venues in their community.
43. A group of ambitious culinary enthusiasts navigates the challenges of running their restaurant, from dealing with demanding customers to managing the complexities of the food industry.
44. A sitcom-like comic book idea about a diverse group of friends and their wacky, relatable romps as they experience the ups and downs of living in a big city.
Bring your comic book ideas to life
Blurb makes it easy to turn your comic book ideas into a finished product. Leverage a full suite of bookmaking tools, design templates, and publishing services to bring your ideas to life. With Blurb, you can also take advantage of distribution and selling platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to promote your book to the world.
Are you ready to get started? Learn more by exploring our comic book maker and other examples of graphic novels. Check out our bookstore’s comics and graphic novels section for more inspiration.